Microsoft shares soar as Ballmer set to quit

steve_ballmerSteve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, is to retire from the position within 12 months while the software company hustles to appoint a successor.

Ballmer said in a prepared statement: “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. “We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”

Microsoft has appointed a committee to search for a successor to Ballmer – a committee which includes founder Bill Gates.

Share prices for Microsoft stock soared in early trading, up by close to eight percent to stand at press time at $34.9.  There have been murmurings that Ballmer should go for quite some time, following what appear to be errors in strategy, including slowness for people to go for Windows 8 and disastrous sales of Microsoft’s Surface RT platform.